You may not realize it, but you are a phishing target at school, at work, and at home. Phishing attacks are a type of computer attack that use malicious emails to trick targets into giving up sensitive information. Ultimately, you are the most effective way to detect and stop phishing scams. When viewing email messages, texts, or social media posts, use the following techniques to prevent your passwords, personal data, or private information from being stolen by a phishing attack.
- Verify the source. Check the sender’s email address to make sure it’s legitimate. Remember that the name of the sender is not the important part. The sender’s email address is what you are really looking for. If in doubt, forward your message to email@example.com.
- Read the entire message carefully. Phishing messages may include a formal salutation, overly-friendly tone, grammatical errors, urgent requests, or gimmicks that do not match the normal tone of the sender.
- Avoid clicking on erroneous links. Even if you know the sender, be cautious of links and attachments in messages. Don’t click on links that could direct you to a bad website. Hovering your mouse over a link should disclose the actual web address that the link is directing you too, which may be different from what is displayed in the message. Make sure this masked address is a site you want to visit.
- Verify the intent of all attachments with the sender before opening them. Even when you know a sender, you should never open an attachment unless have checked with the sender to verify the attachment was sent intentionally. Word and Excel documents can contain malicious macros which could harm your computer. Other files, such as zip files and PDF files, could download malware onto your system. Always verify the intent of attachments with the sender before you open them from an email.
- Verifying a message is always better than responding to a phish. If you ever receive a message that provides reason to pause, it is always better to forward the message to firstname.lastname@example.org or to send a separate email to the sender to verify its intent, before clicking a link or opening an attachment that could potentially impact the security of your computer..
- Change your passwords if you have fallen for a phish. If you think you have fallen for a phishing attack, change your password at go/password and then contact the helpdesk at x2200. It is also a good practice to change your personal passwords outside of the College.
Watch for phishing scams. Common phishing scams are published at sites such as http://IC3.gov , http://phishing.org ,https://www.irs.gov/uac/Report-Phishing. These resources will also allow you to report phishing attacks if you should fall victim outside of the College. Again, if you think you have fallen victim to a phishing attack, always start by changing your passwords.
A phishing email message was sent to @middlebury.edu mailboxes today with a subject line of “Update Announcements”. DO NOT RESPOND ON THIS MESSAGE!
The phishing email message is an attack designed to trick people into disclosing their username and password. Do NOT follow the instructions in the message, as it could lead to your Middlebury account being compromised.
If you were tricked by the email and responded, reset your network password immediately at go/password and then call the Helpdesk at x2200 for further assistance with your account and any possible concerns with your computer.
Here’s a sample of the phishing email message:
Dear middlebury.edu User.
Urgent Update Announcements.
Your middlebury.edu Account has been Sign in with a strange IP Address: And this indicate your mail account is been used for FRAUDULENT ACT, For these reasons, Our records indicate you are no longer our current/active user. Therefore, your account has been scheduled for deletion on this Month of APRIL, 2016. As part of this process, your account, files, email address messages etc, will be deleted from our Data Base.
To Retail Your Account.
You are required to reply with your valid ONLINE ACCESS for reactivation, to ensure Your account remains active and subscribed, Otherwise this account will be De-activated within the next 72 hours hence from now.
Name In Full:
Learn about Mobile Security
Plan ahead for an afternoon RoadShow with Information Security March 30th @ 2:00 in Lib145.
This is an opportunity for you to ask questions and converse on topics such as:
- How do I add a pin to my mobile device
- Is my device encrypted
- How do I track my device if lost
- How do I remote wipe my device
- How do I ensure my data is backed up
Get help securing your mobile device.
Join Information Security in Lib145 @ 2:00PM on March 30th.
Follow Information Security on Twitter @MiddInfoSec.
Attackers commonly use the macro functionality found in Microsoft Word and Excel to attack their victims. They attach malicious document file to an email. When opened, the files can lead to a virus infection on your computer. If you ever get a message with any of these attachments, particularly if you were not expecting it, do NOT open the attachment.
We have received reports for faked order confirmation and fake invoice emails this week that have been well crafted. The faked emails included malicious Microsoft Word documents bearing malware. A couple of examples are included below.
ALWAYS verify unexpected emails with the sender, particularly if they include attachments.
NEVER open attachments that you are not expecting without first verifying they are legitimate with the sender.
If you do open an attachment or file that you suspect is malicious unplug your network cable and contact the helpdesk at x2200 immediately.
Information Security has a new Twitter feed and other new content on their website. Follow us at @MiddInfosec on Twitter or visit our website at http://go.middlebury.edu/infosec
Mobile devices have become one of the primary ways that we communicate and interact with each other. Powerful computers now fit in our pockets and on our wrists, allowing us to bank, shop, view our medical history, work remotely, and communicate from virtually anywhere. With all this convenience comes added risk, so here are some tips to help secure your devices and protect your personal information.
- Password-protect your devices. Protect the data on your mobile device and enable encryption by enabling passwords, PINs, fingerprint scans, or other forms of authentication. On most current mobile operating systems you have the option to encrypt your data when you have a password turned on. Turn it on!
- Secure those devices and backup data. Make sure that you can remotely lock and/or wipe each mobile device. That also means you should back up your data on each device in case you need to use the remote wipe function. Services such as iCloud, OneDrive, and Google offer device location, wipe and backup services.
- Verify app permissions. Don’t forget to review which privacy-related permissions each application is requesting, before installing it. Be cautious of fake applications masquerading as legitimate programs by verifying that the application is from a reputable source, such as the Apple Apps Store, Microsoft’s Store, or Google’s Play Store. Occasionally, applications in the official stores can include malware. Read reviews and descriptions carefully. Only install applications that you need. Remove applications that you are no longer using.
- Update operating systems. Security fixes or patches for mobile devices’ operating systems are often included in these updates. Just like patching a computer, iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile all need to be patched and kept current.
- Be cautious of public Wi-Fi hotspots. When using your mobile device, watch for connections to public hotspots. Many mobile devices will automatically connect to hotspots and prioritize data transmission over Wi-Fi by default. Verify that your settings require manually selecting hotspots if possible. Working with sensitive data while connected to a public hotspot could lead to unintended data exposure. Always ensure that you are using a secure connection.
- Always apply safe computing practices. Whether traveling with a mobile device, a laptop, or sitting in a hotel business center, you always want to use safe computing practices to protect your data. See this link for more tips: http://www.middlebury.edu/offices/technology/infosec/education/training/SafeComputing.
A new phishing attack is hitting the campus with a subject line of, “Your email id”. Delete this message if you see it. Do NOT click any links in this message. If you believe you have fallen for this fishing attack:
This malicious email would have looked similar to the message below.
Subject: Your email id
Your?mail Id has used 91% of its allowable storage space.?Once your account exceeds the allowable storage space you will be unable to receive any email.?Click?Resolve?to login to your account and resolve this issue.
For additional information on phishing please visit http://go.middlebury.edu/phish .
Every election year we find our senses pounded with propaganda from pundits and candidates trying to sway us to one political camp or another. Computer attackers are leveraging our curiosity, and perhaps desensitization to political messages to launch attacks with purportedly political themes.
Recent phishing attacks that have been reported by security firms such as KnowBe4 include:
- Trump Withdraws from Presidential Race
- Sanders Withdraws from Presidential Race
- Update your voter registration
- Hillary Clinton Indicted by FBI on Email Scandal
Watch for these and other email phishing attacks. Know how to spot a phish. Learn more at http://go.middlebury.edu/phish.
Information Security has become aware of a new phishing threat with a subject line of “ITS Help-desk”. Please see below for the full content of this attack. Note this email is a hoax and should be deleted from your email. Do not reply to this message and do not click any links in this message. If you have any questions please feel free to contact the help desk at x2200 or forward the message to email@example.com.
Important reminders to spot a phish include:
- Read the entire email from start to finish to ensure that the content and language fits with the sender.
- Hover your mouse over links to ensure the link directs you to the destination indicated by the email.
- Look for miss placed language, such as copyrights or signatures, that do not match the sender.
For additional information on phishing please visit http://go.middlebury.edu/phish
Plan ahead for a lunch and learn RoadShow. On February 23rd, 2016 ITS-Information Security will be hosting a RoadShow conversation on safe computing practices and phishing avoidance techniques in Lib145 from 12:00 to 1:00. This conversation is open to the entire Middlebury community. All are encouraged to come.
- How to spot a phish
- Safe download practices and installing applications on your computer
- Data classification and sensitive data
- Removable media and when to use it
- Password management and what to do with all of those passwords
Follow ITS-Information Security on Twitter: @MiddInfoSec
Information Security has a New Twitter feed and other new content on their website. Follow us at @MiddInfosec or visit our website at http://go.middlebury.edu/infosec
Planning a spring break vacation? People are frequently more vulnerable when traveling because a break from their regular routine or encounters with unfamiliar situations often result in less cautious behavior. If this sounds like you, or someone you know, these five tips will help you protect yourself and guard your privacy.
- Track that device! Install a device finder or manager on your mobile device in case it’s lost or stolen. Make sure it has remote wipe capabilities and also protects against malware.
- Avoid social media announcements about your travel plans. It’s tempting to share your upcoming vacation plans with family and friends, but consider how this might make you an easy target for local or online thieves. While traveling, avoid using social media to “check in” to airports and consider posting those beautiful photos after you return home. Find out how burglars are using your vacation posts to target you in this infographic.
- Traveling soon? If you’re traveling with a laptop or mobile device, remove or encrypt confidential information. Consider using a laptop or device designated for travel with no personal information, especially when traveling out of the country.
- Limit personal information stored on devices. Use a tool like Identity Finder to locate your personally identifiable information (e.g., SSN, credit card numbers, or bank accounts) on your computer, then secure or remove that information.
Physically protect yourself and your devices. Use a laptop lock, avoid carrying identification cards, shred sensitive paperwork before you recycle it, and watch out for “shoulder surfers” at the ATM.